By Brian J. Gail
One More Soul, 2008
417 pages, $9.95
In the novel Fatherless, Brian J. Gail explores the controversial and often blatantly denied truths of the birth control pill’s destructive effects on women, families and society.
Through the lives of four characters, Gail considers the pill’s immediate and far-reaching effects. Although their lives are intertwined, each main character carries a distinct storyline.
Joe Delgado discovers top-secret information that the pharmaceutical company he works for does not want revealed. Will he expose the truth?
Maggie Kealey suffers from migraines. But her biggest headache may be the consequences she experiences when her husband pressures her to go on the pill.
Michael Burns’ job thrusts him into the high-powered world of advertising and ethical dilemmas. Can he promote a new, groundbreaking cable company that seeks to destroy family values?
Father John Sweeney is a good man who wants his parishioners to be happy, but at what cost?
With an engaging style that immediately draws the reader in, we may soon wonder what kind of fictional world we have entered. As a child, John Sweeney is more than rebellious; he is out of control. But it is how others deal with him that causes us to consider: “Should I keep reading?”
Some of these scenarios are a bit over the top, but things dramatically improve as the plot develops.
This is a world of “real” people, struggling with their human weaknesses. They fail miserably when they put their wants in front of God’s loving, intrinsic purpose for them. When and if they open themselves up for God’s grace, things fall into place.
The strength of the book lies in the magnitude of the issue people wish to ignore. We read:
“‘Why? Why a new category for nonpersons as you call it?’”
“At the time they needed a moral cover for in vitro fertilization experiments being conducted in the U.S. and England. Now, of course, it’s about greasing the skids for abortifacients. Tomorrow it will be fetal stem-cell research. The day after tomorrow it will be human cloning.”
Gail successfully juggles the many storylines as he jumps from one main character to the next. Lots of crisp dialogue keeps the plot moving while educating the reader.
Unfortunately, he throws in stereotypes of nasty nuns and pedophile priests.
Also, in the name of realistic dialogue, the “bad guys” of Madison Avenue advertising make plenty of crude and lewd remarks.
Finally, the storyline concerning one of the minor characters is not clear. Is she mentally ill, assaulted by the devil or possessed? This is further confused by alluding to this character as a victim soul.
The real information about the pill isn’t discussed in women’s magazines or the doctor’s office. The facts presented here are accurate. The theme of the novel revolves around the explosive impact of one little object — the pill — and its devastating impact on women, families and society. Pope Paul VI predicted it in Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth). Gail unveils it in Fatherless.
Elizabeth Yank writes from
South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.